The 11th annual Dances with Films, taking place at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theatre in Los Angeles from July 24 – 31, is a truly independent film festival where what you do, not who you know, is what really matters. Talent trumps connections at Dances with Films; the rules mandate that films in competition involve no established directors, actors, writers or producers.

Those in competition may have nothing more than a dream, but can possess the talent to go on to successful careers. Just take a look at DWF alumni, who include Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer, creators of the hit HBO TV series “Big Love,” Dan Harris, screenwriter of blockbuster films like X-Men 2 and Superman Returns, and actress Kathryn Morris, star of CBS’s “Cold Case.” Dances with Films can also make a claim few film festivals can: Two short film entries that premiered at DWF went on to receive Oscar nominations.

A standout among the 80 entries in this year’s film lineup is the quirky documentary Women in Boxes, about the long-standing tradition of female magicians’ assistants.

Called “the defiant fest of raw talent” by The Hollywood Reporter, Dances with Films was created by two moviemakers after Sundance rejected their project. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, the moviemakers set out on a mission to provide talent a helping hand in realizing their dreams, minus the drama. More than 10 years later, the festival has remained dedicated to shining a spotlight on extraordinary and exciting new moviemakers.

To get more information on how you can attend the 2008 festival, visit